I'm a little late on this one, but about a week ago, I finally finished watching Narcos on Netflix. With all the great TV out there, I fit it into my schedule the best I could.
I really enjoyed it. I have no idea what the budget was for the show, but I'm guessing it's probably in line with the $4M/episode that Netflix tends to throw at the showrunners. It doesn't show large as something like Game of Thrones, or Marco Polo, but for a first season drug lord tale, it played pretty damn big.
The series does a good job of using historical photos and footage to intermix within the somewhat fictional narrative as it follows the life of Pablo Escobar. The biggest criticism that the show has gotten has been the accent of Wagner Moura, who plays Pablo, as he is a native Portuguese speaker. From what I've been told, his Spanish does improve through the series, but is very shaky in the first few episodes. For those who don't speak Español, it's not a concern, as Moura is exceptional in playing the role if the accent isn't taken into account.
The whole show is very well cast. The tension is kept high. The characters are interesting, even some of the smaller roles, like Pablo's mother. Pablo's arc is satisfying, but the best part of Season 1 is the arc of Steve Murphy, DEA Agent, played well by Boyd Holbrook. A Fed Agent can only put up with so much when dealing with the corrupt Columbian government before changing for the worse.
I'm looking forward to Season 2. If Netflix throws a bit more money at the show, and as Pablo's life gets more chaotic, I think Narcos is going to get really good.
My Rating: 8.5/10
I spent a few days at a hotel resort, in a room facing the ocean, up on the central coast of California. What a beautiful part of the country. California has it all: hip & dirty urban centers, mountains, the largest trees on the planet in remarkable forests, deserts, and a gorgeous coastline.
It wasn't by accident that I chose San Simeon for a writing getaway. The theory goes that if you're working on the large concept part of a project—big, majestic, open spaces are preferable for the creative mind. If you're in the late detail stage—a smaller, closed environment is preferable.
I'm working on a fantasy novel, and even though I'm about 30% through the first draft, there were still some things I needed to work on regarding the plot lines and the character arcs. So, I spent a few days, relaxing, writing, sitting, watching the ocean, reading, and swimming in a heated pool. And I think it paid off in spades.
I now have a very clear picture in my head of how my different plot lines are going to come together at the end of this novel, and where they're going to begin and probably end in the 2nd novel of the series.
Big, open spaces. In Los Angeles, there's not a lot of those. So, as an LA writer, it pays to get out of town every now and then, and see the wide open spaces in the rest of the this remarkably beautiful state.
Started driving up the California coast yesterday afternoon. I gotta tell you, the central coast of California is just ridiculously beautiful. Once you get out of the LA Basin and away from the sprawl, it turns rural rather quickly. Beautiful ocean views as you head north, with large, picturesque rocks sticking out of the water.
As I drove north of Santa Barbara, I look out of my window and see (what I think is) an F-18 Hornet approaching fast and low above the water (Vanderberg Air Base is nearby). I look up through my open sunroof and see it pass directly over me. The sound was undescribably loud, and I felt the force of it shoot through me. The fighter plane quickly inverted itself as it flew over the hills, only a few hundred feet above them. What an awesome sight and feeling.
When you turn inland for a bit to head to San Luis Obispo, the treeless hills turn very green, and at this point in time, in this year, it's an amazing sight to see. The green pops out like you've never seen. It almost shines. It's just so gorgeous, and so different from the urban cores, it's hard to imagine that it's in the same state.
Eventually you get back on the coast and drive between the ocean and monstrous sized hills, once again treeless and green. By the time I was approaching San Simeon, the sun was low in the horizon and its glow was painting everything I saw a warm and shiny orange.
I got to my hotel room which faces the ocean. Gorgeous view. You hear the water crashing against the rocks below the cliffs. I took a nice long swim in the heated pool, which I had all to myself, looking up at the stars in the dark sky, and listening to the ocean's waves. Then, after a quick shower, I went and had a nice BBQ chicken dinner.
Back in my hotel room, with a fire roaring in the fireplace, looking out to the blackness of the ocean, with my glass sliding door open so I could hear the waves, I began rereading stuff I had written over the last few days.
Ever since I read an interview awhile ago with Chris Nolan where he said he likes to write in hotel rooms because it's a place he can get away and focus on his work, I've been interested in writing getaways. This one, in San Simeon, on the amazingly beautiful California Coast, is only for a few days, which is the perfect amount of time to reset and get a bit of quality work done.
And today...today I write.
Since there haven't been any African Americans nominated in the top four categories for two years straight, we're seeing a boycott of this year's Academy Awards by a few artists. The Economist ran a piece with the data that seemed to show that African Americans aren't substantially biased against when it comes to the Oscars. Although potential racial bias in the Academy is an important topic, it's not the bias subject that I'd like to talk about now.
There is definitely one substantial bias in the Academy Awards. It's a strong bias that everyone knows about and accepts, even though it is wrong. I'm talking about release date bias.
A university in the Netherlands ran through the data. What they found is that more than 1 in 5 films nominated are released in December, and there has never been a film nominated that was released in July. The bias skews towards October, November, but especially December.
If we look at the Best Picture Nominations for this year, we have the following release dates:
May 15, 2015
Oct. 2, 2015
Oct. 16, 2015
Oct. 16, 2015
Nov. 4, 2015
Nov. 6, 2015
Dec. 11, 2015
Dec. 25, 2015
If you look at the other nominations you get a similar tale. The further you push the release in the year, the the better the chance that you'll get a nomination.
The May 15th release on that list is obviously Mad Max: Fury Road, which is one of the best action movies ever made. If it had been released in December, it would probably clean up at the Oscars. How do you know a film is great? Release it in May, and see if it still gets nominations.
On the race debate, I think if Straight Outta Compton had been released in December, it certainly would have been nominated for Best Picture, and Jason Mitchell would have been nominated for Best Actor. But, it may not have done as well at the box office, so that's the game you play.
There are probably many biases that affect the outcome of the Academy Awards to some degree. But I believe they all pale in comparison to release date bias. If Twelve Years a Slave had been released in February (instead of November), my guess is that not only would it have not won Best Picture, it may not have even been nominated.
So while there may not be heavy social implications to release date bias, I do believe it's the easiest bias to prove and the bias that most greatly affects which films are nominated and which films win Academy Awards. I truly wish we could rid it from the Academy so that films that happen to have an early release date aren't unduly punished.
That Dec. 25th release? The Revenant. You now know where to put you money down for a Best Picture win this year.
Yesterday afternoon, I sat all by myself in my new favorite theatre, the MGN Five Star Cinemas, in Glendale, CA, while my waitress served me popcorn, pizza, and drinks, and while I lounged back, and watched The Revenant.
There were several reasons why I went to see The Revenant in the theatre. First off, I'm a big Leo fan. He is one of the absolute best A-list actors of our time.
I'm also a big Tom Hardy fan. I've been critical on this blog in the past about his lack of A-list shine. Nonetheless, he has incredible talent as a player on the big screen.
The movie was directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu. If you give Alejandro $135M, and tell him to go make a historical epic in the outdoors, this is something you go see.
The most important reason why I wanted to see the film, however, is I'm intrigued by cinematography in forests. It's damn expensive and hard to light epic scenes in the middle of trees. Many films don't even try to light in such tricky outdoor environments. Emmanuel Lubezki DP'd two of my favorite films of all time: Children of Men, and The Tree of Life. I really wanted to see how he approached this story with lighting.
The first fifteen minutes or so of this film is a brutal attack scene where Indians absolutely crush a large group of hunters who have stacks of pelts piled up on the river near their boat. Immediately, a few things are apparent: there is no exterior lighting done on this film, the scenes are extremely graphic, and the shooting style is largely roaming camera capturing bits of action.
I tend to like nontraditional shooting styles. It's done rather well throughout this movie, but does get a bit gimmicky at times. We really could have used some large establishing shots in scenes like the opening attack. Obviously, the filmmakers want us immersed in the action. That's great, but it's done at the expense of scope, and the way it is done during The Revenant only furthers the film's major drawback, which I'll discuss later. I love that the filmmakers took a chance with this style, and although I'm nitpicking it, for the most part, it works rather well.
The first act of the film effectively establishes the protagonist—Hugh Glass (Leo), and the antagonist—John Fitzgerald (Tom). What becomes obvious very early on, and is just cemented in fact throughout the film, is that Leo does give a tremendous performance, but that Hardy outshines him brightly and gives a performance for the ages.
Tom Hardy's performance blew me away. This upcoming Best Actor Oscar is going to be handed to the wrong person. It should be handed to another actor in the same film! Hardy's performance alone is worth the price of admission and then some. What a ridiculously talented actor!
Something major happens (the bear scene) and at this point, the film's primary weakness is revealed: believability. This can be broken down into two parts.
1. The stuff that Glass has to go through in this film is so far from being believable, it prevents this from being the utter classic film that it deserves to be. It's not even close. Without giving away too many spoilers, Leo's character goes from one utterly unbelievable event to another. He goes from having a broken foot in one scene, in which he's still able to crawl around the entire West, to not having a broken foot in another scene and is capable of running. It's absurd, and an absolute shame, because it holds back the potential greatness of this film.
2. The CG stuff looks weak. That bear, who supposedly isn't CG, looks very CG, until it's dead. Buffalo, wolves, avalanches—none of it looks real. It would have been better to tone down the scenes and use real practicals, because at least at that point, sophisticated eyes in the seats aren't going to be thinking about how great the scene would have been without the CGI.
I won't go into the rest of the film. What I will say is this: from beginning to end, The Revenant is a fantastic film (with a world class performance by Tom Hardy) except for the fact that almost the entire movie is utterly unbelievable. If the filmmakers would have toned back the completely unrealistic and unneeded insanity, and kept this tale in the realm of the real world, The Revenant would be added near the top of the list of all-time greatest American survival period pieces.
As is, The Revenant is definitely worth seeing, but for reasons that aren't getting much buzz. That bear scene is not terrific. The characters, especially the non-Hugh Glass characters, are very well-written, and all of the acting is terrific. When the camera movement stops, and sticks on epic outdoor shots, they blow you away. The gruesome nature of what was the American West at that time is captured well. But, above all, see The Revenant to see Tom Hardy's best performance of his young career. It is ridiculously fantastic.
On IMDB I gave The Revenant 8 out of 10 stars. If it would have been more believable, it would have easily been a ten out of ten.
I woke up at noon after ten hours of sleep, something I hadn't gotten in over ten years.
I got a fruit smoothie going for brunch.
Wrote for a couple of hours.
Went for a three mile walk.
Wrote for three hours.
Went for a three mile walk.
Had some Szechuan Beef for dinner.
Ready to watch some Netflix for a couple of hours before going to sleep.
That's a pretty damn good day in the life of a writer.
There's been a slew of iconic musicians dying lately, including Motörhead's Lemmy, David Bowie, and The Eagle's Glenn Frey. I'm afraid we're seeing the tip of the iceberg, as the hard partying legends of the late '60's and '70's are all reaching a certain age.
It's incredibly sad for more than one reason.
The bulk of music created in the last fifteen years doesn't resonate with many of us who were born in the '70's or earlier. It comes across as thin, shallow, and incomplete. The primary reason, I believe, is because music has shifted away from deep narratives for the sake of simplicity. Shallow pop, country, and hip hop rule the day, much to the dismay of those who appreciate a certain depth in their musical art.
This is not a lyric you would likely find written today:
Well, I'm a standin' on a corner, in Winslow, Arizona
Such a fine sight to see
It's a girl my Lord, in a flat-bed Ford
Slowin' down to take a look at me
At first look, this lyric appears simple in nature. It is not, however. The power of this lyric is that you can feel what the author(s) felt in that moment in a deep sense. It's a scene. It's part of a narrative. There's nothing more American than an attractive woman driving a flat-bed Ford through rural America. The picture is painted beautifully. The feeling of attraction was felt by the writer, and transferred to the listener, with incredible effectiveness. This awesome moment is forever captured—from the very distinct setting, to the feeling of elation during the connection between two people in that particular moment in time—by a poet writing and singing his art.
Poetry typically fails to connect with today's masses unless there's a beat behind it. That's the truth. Some of the great conventional poets of our day are read by only a handful of people because that's all who are able to effectively connect with their work. But those who put their poetry to music—they're heard by the whole world.
Unfortunately, some of the great ones are beginning to die off, and when we look at the landscape that holds their replacements—the view looks disturbingly bleak. Thank God, however, their poetry remains, and future generations, from now all the way until the end of time, will be able to enjoy the emotionally charged poetic experience.
Rock on Glenn Frey.
Since there was so much buzz surrounding Netflix's Making a Murderer, I decided to watch it. The ten part documentary, covering the trials of Steven Avery and his cousin Brendan Dassey, was filmed over ten years and garnered numerous strong critical reviews after its release a month ago.
This seemed like something right up my alley. I was a fan of the original Court TV because it covered high profile trials from beginning to end, which for me was intriguing, unlike the numerous court tv shows of today which are either ten minute segments of small claims court knock-offs or quick summaries of major cases—both of which leave me entirely unfulfilled.
When the Serial podcast came out, I gave it a shot, but gave up after a couple of episodes because without the visual aid, I had trouble keeping focused on it. HBO's The Jinx was something I loved, however. Long-form, real life crime dramas, if done well, are something special, and Making a Murderer, in terms of crafting, fits this bill.
I don't want to focus this post on the quality of the docu-series's production. It's great. If you love drama, you'll probably enjoy Making a Murderer. It's full of twists and turns. It's clear that there are real lives at stake in these trials and that the effect on the community of Manitowoc was deep.
What I'd like to talk about is the ethics of the filmmakers. So from this point forward, there will be...
It was clear to me early on that the filmmakers were slanting the skew to make Steven Avery look innocent. Regardless of that, after watching the series I thought conclusively that Steven was in fact guilty, but I had questions about Brendan's guilty verdict. Then I decided to look up what key evidence the filmmakers left out of the documentary.
The filmmakers conveniently left out the following facts:
1. A nurse claimed that the hole in the blood vial is common, and that she put it there.
2. Steven Avery and Teresa Halbach knew each other. He had called Auto Trader several times and specifically requested that she come out to take photos. She complained to her boss that she didn't want to go to his property anymore because he was inappropriate.
3. Avery made 3 phone calls to Halbach the day she was murdered, twice from a *67 number to hide his identity.
4. Avery's DNA was found on the underside of the hood of Halbach's car.
5. Jodi Stachowski, Avery's former fiance, now calls Avery a 'monster' who used to beat her and threaten to kill her.
6. Halbach's camera and phone were found on Avery's property.
7. While the documentary briefly mentioned that Avery's criminal past had included animal cruelty, it didn't state that he doused a cat in oil and threw it into a bonfire.
8. The bullet with Halbach's DNA on it, came from Avery's gun.
9. Avery purchased handcuffs and leg irons only 3 weeks before the murder.
10. Brendan admitted to being guilty to his mother on a phone call. He also admitted that Avery had inappropriately touched him and others in the past.
11. Brendan also confessed, in graphic detail, to the whole ordeal, while at the Sheriff's office.
This was all left out of the documentary.
So while Making of a Murderer was fascinating to watch, it was done by two grossly unethical filmmakers that were hell-bent on pushing an agenda and gaining buzz. This is the worst type of filmmaking because it's made on something that's far less than the truth.
Should you still watch Making of a Murderer? Yeah. Because it's well crafted and a shining piece of how biased documentary filmmakers can be when trying to push an agenda instead of trying to tell the truth.
There are two types of fiction writers: the one that structures out stories and characters before putting pen to paper, and the one that just begins writing without any planning. The prior tends to have better plots, and the latter better characters, or so traditional wisdom would tell us.
In business, firms generally come up with a strategy, typically what they're going to produce and who they're going to produce it for. They hit a target market and try to find a way to differentiate themselves from their competitors who occupy similar space.
And then there was Steve Jobs. He had no strategy other than to stop making crappy stuff. That's it. He reduced the number of products that Apple made from 350 to 10. Even today, the number of things Apple makes can fit on a kitchen table, and the firm is worth twice as much as the second most valued publicly traded company on the planet. Everything to Steve was either great or crappy, perfectly binary, with the vast majority of stuff being on the not-good-enough end.
I think if Steve Jobs was a fiction writer, he'd not work on the characters or plot in advance, but would certainly edit without abandon as he pushed forward with each chapter. I believe he'd be brutal with what he cut and what he kept though. Is it absolutely great? Are you sure? Then keep it. But if it's not—delete.
Many writers push through a first draft without editing along the way. Steve Jobs would certainly never do that. I can't either. I don't have to wait until a reread much further down the line to realize something is short of what it could be. So as I make my way through that first draft, I'm constantly going back and working on previous chapters. I just don't have the mindset to allow something to stay, even for a single draft,, if in that moment I think it's inferior to what should be there.
This approach seemed to work for Steve Jobs in the tech world. I'm not so sure it works for most in the literary world, but I can totally see where he comes from, and I'm sure I'm not the only writer that loves to cut recklessly with a chainsaw during the first draft.
If it's not a great section of writing—it's crap. Delete it. Put something in there that's worthy. I think that's what Steve Jobs would tell us writers if he could.
I'm a writer. I love quality narratives, both reading and writing them. My greatest hope in life is that I can make a living solely off of writing narratives, but even if that doesn't happen any time soon, I'm happy that I've found my life's passion. I feel bad for people who never find that passion which if often their missing piece to completing their life. It's an un-talked of subject that is the bane of many adult's existence.
During the last ten years, a major roadblock to my writing has been a vicious sleep problem that only seemed to get worse over time. It started when I switched from a swing shift to an early morning shift while working at Warner Bros. Remember the WB network? Dawson's Creek, 7th Heaven, Felicity? I used to work in the master control room that fed that network out to all of the local affiliates. One day, CBS and Warner Bros. decided to combine UPN and the WB into a new network: the CW. They moved the control room to New York, and suddenly I'm moved to a day shift. That worked out for me at the time, because I was working on my MBA, and most of my classes were at night.
Years go by, and my sleep issue only gets worse. I have to wake up at 5am every day to start the commute, and I struggle throughout the day. Then suddenly, at 6pm I'm wide awake—every single day. When I try to force myself to go to sleep at 9 or 10pm, I can't. Not even close.
I complete my MBA, take a year or so off from school (while I continue working), and then tackle an MFA. Too much going on, commute just gets worse every year, and sleep never improves.
My doctors put me on every type of medication possible, none of which work in the long-run, and I get increasingly frustrated because lack of sleep is the one thing that prevents me from doing what I love to do most—writing quality narratives, or at least attempting to. Over time, I get more frustrated because after putting tens of thousands of hours into writing, I think I'm actually getting pretty good at it, but I'm so tired all the time, I can't focus on doing it as well and as often as I'd like to.
I complete my MFA, and with my degrees behind me, I actually think I'll finally settle down into good nightly sleep. But, no. I'm always tired throughout the day and am wide awake as the sun starts going down.
Then a few weeks ago, I get the opportunity to switch back to swing shift. Once I do, I go to bed when I'm naturally tired (around 2am) and am able to quickly fall asleep every single time. Even when my noisy neighbors wake me up early because they want to start their never-ending construction on their house for the day, if their buzzsaws quiet down for a few minutes, I'm easily able to take a nap. Like turning off a light switch, my ten year old sleep problem disappears overnight. I quit taking all of my prescription sleep meds, and I still have no problem falling asleep.
I talked about it with my primary sleep doctor yesterday (you know you have a problem when you have more than one sleep doctor), and he apologized because he now thinks he knows why my sleep problem existed, and what could have been done to help it, years ago.
We all have a circadian rhythm that regulates our body. This biological clock, per say, is adjusted by external cues called 'zeitgebers.' One important zeitgeber is light. Your body is used to absorbing morning light, which is a cue to stop melatonin production and increase testosterone production. This signals your body that the day has begun. Your body then goes into a process of regulating itself for the day. When the sun drops, your body decreases testosterone production and increases melatonin to put you to sleep.
Many years ago, when I was working swing shift, I had mornings off, and I would go on long walks or hikes many times a week. The morning sun set my clock going into day cycle. Everything worked like it should have.
When I moved to early morning day shift, I'd drive to work in the dark, and then stay in a dark control room until 3:30pm. I'd commute home, and then try to take a walk around 5pm. That was when sun starting hitting my skin, and my body took it as a cue that the day was beginning. I could never fall asleep at 9pm because my body didn't think it was nighttime. I would fall asleep around 2am or so, because that's when my body thought that night began. Then my alarm would wake me up 5am, and I'd have to deal with another hard day after only getting 3 hours of sleep.
Switching back to swing shift fit what my clock was currently wired to be, perfectly.
Had my sleep doctor realized that a few years ago, he would have put me on light therapy. The key is to get your body thinking that morning is at the start of the day. There are bright, white lights that are designed specifically to do so. For people like me, who work in dark, enclosed places, this can be a very useful tool.
I actually bought one about a week ago. I have it stationed on a table in my living room. Much of the morning I'm in the living room, in front of my tv (which is a plasma, so I need to keep my shades shut to see it), I need a light shining on me for a few hours to keep my circadian rhythm properly tuned. I'm currently changing up my kitchen so I can do some writing there in the morning, where sunlight pours in, so that should help too. Plus, I'll be doing my morning hikes and such.
Tuning my circadian rhythm to my work and sleep schedule is the solution that I've long looked for and have finally found.
So I think my problem is finally solved, at a great time too, because I am ready to pour monster amounts of hours into my writing. For writers that live far north, and get tired during the winter months—your circadian rhythm may be off. Use a mood light in the morning to get it back on track. Without a lot of light in your day, you probably have a vitamin D deficiency as well, like I do, which only adds to the feeling of being tired.
Sleep is the most crucial element for writers to do their job well. Sleep problems can be complex. Spending time with the right doctors and doing the research to find out what the core of the problem is, is absolutely crucial in solving the problem.
The worst thing in the world is to find what you truly love to do, and then not be able to do it well because of a problem that can be corrected. Do the work to find the solution to the problem. It may take years, but if you can correct it, your life will be improved in tremendous ways—and your love of craft will only deepen.
I've blogged before about writing retreats. Many authors swear by them, both official retreats (where you meet other writers) and unofficial retreats (where you just get away from your daily life for a few days and focus on getting those next few chapters down).
Last summer I spent three days in a cabin in Big Bear, and I had planned to do a lot of writing, but ended up spending most of the time learning how to use Scrivener. It was time well spent, and I totally fell in love with the idea of getting out of town to focus on the novel. Instead of spending my credit card points on Starbucks, which I've done for years, I've been using them recently to save up Orbitz points, specifically to get out of town three or four times a year, for brief excursions, to get away from the distractions of home.
Having worked a ton of overtime over the holidays (including a twelve hour shift on Christmas and on New Year's Eve), I'm itching to get out of town for a bit. I've been focusing on improving the writing space in my apartment so I'll be more apt to spend a couple of hours a day writing at home every morning. But I think getting out of town for an extended weekend to focus on my fantasy novel would do me some good.
Big Bear is not an option this time of the year because I don't want to put chains on my 300 and drive through the snow. So I'm thinking of going to Pismo Beach or San Luis Obispo for a few days at the end of the month. The only problem is that we're starting our El Niño winter here in Cali, so if I plan it too early, I might be spending time at a beach during a downpour.
I truly want to get to Austin either this October or next to check out the city and the film festival. It's the festival for screenwriters, so it's a must to get to at some point. I think in the early summer I'll take a long weekend and drive back to Big Bear or up to the Sequoias for a quick writing getaway. And hopefully I'll be able to squeeze another one in sometime late in the year.
Maybe in 2017 or 2018, I'll try to get to a writer's conference. For now, I'd like to just keep to my commitment of getting a few writing getaways in a year. It seems to help a lot of writers in their process, I think it'll help me as well.
Keeping the focus is a big part of my 2016.
2015 was a year of decent progress for me. In February, I started this blog, and have been posting relatively frequently to it. In July, I finally released my thesis novel, The Wicked Trees, on Kindle. Throughout the summer I made progress on my unnamed horror script. I also got about 25% through the first draft of my next novel, a medieval fantasy story, which I plan on turning into a series. I've rewritten those first few chapters numerous times and I like where it's going.
Later in the year I finally purchased a stellar writing rig, a MacBook Air, and became pretty proficient with Scrivener, which wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. I've switched shifts at work, so now I have my mornings open to write, and gain about an hour or so every day because of an easier commute time. I should gain a lot more energy throughout the upcoming months as I'm getting good sleep for the first time in years.
My first project of 2016 is to build myself a better writing space. I'm getting rid of my breakfast nook that takes up too much of my kitchen and am replacing it with a small wooden table and chairs. It's a nice sunny spot in the morning to get away from the living room TV and Xbox. I might even try to squeeze in a little desk next to it. I'll see. The main objective is to have a small, distraction free space, where I can spend a couple of hours every morning with my laptop, before I go into work. I think I'm going to purchase an Amazon Echo to fill my writing space with music when I'm in the mood for it.
My plan is to get my thesis novel out on paperback sometime this Spring. It'll be nice to finally move on from that project, which I felt turned out pretty damn well.
I want to make significant progress on my fantasy novel during 2016. If I could get the first draft nearly completed, that would be great, but I'm not going to rush it.
I also want to make a decision as to which direction to take my horror script. I think it's satisfyingly scary as is, but I want to add something to make it more iconic. I've been tossing around ideas in my head for months. I'd really like to take a couple weeks here and there and push it further towards a final draft.
I'd also like to take a couple short writing trips in 2016. I've always wanted to go to the Austin Film Festival, so maybe this is the year I'll finally go. Perhaps I'll attend a writing conference or just go somewhere and hole myself up for a few days and focus on my novel while in a different environment.
Anyway, 2016 is here, and I'm excited about it.